Nakhon Ratchasima - Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond bounced back from a slow start to shoot a five-under-par 66 to take over the lead in the penultimate round of the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on Saturday.
The two-time Asian Tour winner birdied four of his closing seven holes to take a one-shot lead into the final round with a three-day total of 20-under-par 193 at the ฿4 million (approximately US$121,700) event hosted by Thai legend Boonchu Ruangkit.
England’s Steve Lewton carded a 68 to share second place on 194 with home talent Itthipat Buranatanyarat who matched yesterday’s efforts with a 64 at the Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club.
The 23-year-old Jazz made an eagle on hole five but dropped his very first shot of the tournament on hole 11 after missing the green when his ball landed in the greenside bunker.
“I think everyone in the group was struggling in the beginning, I didn’t get the momentum right and finally everyone started playing better towards the end.
“My first bogey just came from out of nowhere. It was an easy shot and I just hit it in the bunker and didn’t make an up-and-down. But that was a good wake up call for me because from then on, I was able to find my momentum again,” added the young Thai.
Jazz lost in a play-off in 2016 and missed out yet again the year after with a bogey on his last hole to settle for tied-third. With his game in shape, he remains optimistic but refuses to get ahead of himself.
“I don’t have much pressure going into tomorrow. It’s good that my game is in good shape. I’m not thinking about winning and I am just taking this as a sign that I am back and playing good golf again,” added Jazz.
Countryman Itthipat, who made the fourth ace in his career in the second round, also made a late charge with four birdies and one eagle on his back nine.
“I didn’t start too well. I was missing a lot of putts and I three-putted hole five. But hole eight turned things around for me. I almost hit it on the green from the tee box and tapped in for birdie,” said the 25-year-old.
The Thai made the mark at Asian Tour Qualifying School this year after finishing in third position. He will go into the final round with the same focused mindset that helped put him in contention today.
“On the back nine, I really got more focused with my shots. I stayed patient and focused on my own game instead of on the leader board. I am excited for tomorrow and will just keep playing my own game,” added Itthipat.
Lewton, who held a one-shot lead going into the third round, traded four birdies against one bogey after struggling with a cold putter.
“It was a pretty frustrating day. I hit it very good and just didn’t make enough putts. I played pretty steady all day. All my birdies were inside six-feet but I just couldn’t hole anything to get any momentum going,” added the one-time Asian Tour winner.
The Englishman stays positive heading into the final round and hopes to channel the same mindset he had when he carded his personal-best score of 62 in round two.
“Going into the final round I will just try and play like the first two rounds. I just want to have fun and make plenty of birdies tomorrow,” added Lewton.
American Johannes Veerman (64) and South Africa’s Mathiam Keyser (65) share tied-fouth on 197. Defending Champion Namchok Tantipokhakul signed for a 69 to sit in tied-20th on a 202 total.
The Boonchu Ruangkit Championship which is jointly sanctioned by the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT), will be celebrating its fifth edition this year where the winner is projected to earn 10 Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
The leading seven players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.
Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on all ADT events with the winner earning a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.
Leading third round scores:
193 - Jazz Janewattananond 63 64 66
194 - Itthipat Buranatanyarat 66 64 64, Steve Lewton 64 62 68
197 - Johannes Veerman 65 68 64, Mathiam Keyser 65 67 65
198 - Witchayanon Chothirunrungrueng 65 66 67